This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to colleagues, clients or customers, use the Reprints tool at the top of any article or visit: www.mbreprints.com.
Your Life in 1,000 Words: The Craft of Personal Essays
Tips on telling your story in a way that resonates with your audience
By Amanda Layman Low -
October 28, 2013
There is intrigue in our daily lives, our reactions to events, and the harmony or dissonance between our goals and realities. All of these can become inspiring and salable personal essays. But crafting your experiences into written pieces requires focus, a cold eye for editing and professionalism when facing negative feedback. A good essay isn't some "dear diary" sludge of emotions or a verbatim tale of what happened at the dentist. A good essay is artful, honest and written with a strong angle. Most of all, it is written with an audience in mind.
And especially for fiction writers, I recommend the personal essay as a way to cross over into nonfiction. Like fiction, essay writing requires tweaking your observations into something meaningful and palatable to others. It can be creative and experimental, unlike the no-nonsense tone of traditional journalism. Your built-in sensor for pacing and plot will serve you well when writing essays -- I know because I made the transition from fiction hobbyist to paid nonfiction writer two years ago by way of the personal essay.
The How to Pitch series is worth its weight in gold. In just the first month I'd already benefited enough to consider the cost of joining well worth it. -- Gaen Murphree
AvantGuild benefits give you access to:
Premium content, including our How to Pitch Guides, an indispensable tool for freelance writers. view sample >
Savings of up to $35 per class on mediabistro.com courses and seminars.
Insurance discounts for freelancers and small businesses, including medical, dental, auto and home.
Lots of other professional discounts, including ZipCar (a $50 value) and your choice of magazine subscriptions (a $10 value).